cover image The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

Jessica Haight and Stephanie Robinson, illus. by Roman Muradov. Delacorte, $15.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-385-74471-3

Mixing realism and fantasy, Haight and Robinson’s debut opens with 11-year-old Fairday’s move from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut, where her relentlessly cheerful parents plan to turn a dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast. No sooner has the family arrived than eerie sights and sounds begin to haunt Fairday. The house turns out to hold dark secrets that everybody in town suspects but nobody can explain: a perfect mission for Fairday and her best friend Lizzy’s Detective Mystery Squad (DMS). The girls undergo inexplicable hair-raising experiences in the haunted house; when they enlist a clever local boy to join them, the plot thickens and the adventures grow even more bizarre and frightening (Muradov’s moody, angular b&w artwork plays right into the creepiness). While relying on the too-convenient device of discovering an old diary and on a retired newspaper reporter, the novel builds to an exciting climax that takes magic in stride and suggests that further mysteries await the DMS trio. Ages 10–up. Authors’ agent: Rachael Dugas, Talcott Notch Literary Services. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Dec.)